Germany Wines

Germany Wines

Some of the greatest white wines in the world come from Germany. When made from the Riesling grape, by a well-respected grower; German wines can be extremely complex and deliver immense satisfaction.

The cool climate is just one of the factors explaining why German wines are some of the most difficult to make. Several of the vineyards lie at the northern limit for wine production. Nonetheless, in good years the grapes ripen slowly and can provide a wonderful balance between fruit and acidity. Winemaking was introduced to the region by the Romans who observed where the snow first melted, indicating where grapes might successfully ripen.

A grading system evolved, which linked quality to grape ripeness, rather than vineyard location. This notion has been challenged by several respected growers, who argue that precise location is equally important. Traditionally, QMP  (Qualitätswein mit Prädikat) wines, are made without chaptalisation (the addition of sugar prior to fermentation) and are categorized depending on the degree of natural grape sugar at the time of harvest.

The categories are as follows:

Kabinett: very light and perfect as an aperitif.

Spatlese: distinctly off-dry.

Auslese: much sweeter, with some noble rot apparent in some cases.

Beerenauslese (BA): rich, intense, sweet wines.

Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA): made from individual handpicked berries, 100% noble rot. The richest wines, at best balanced with crisp acidity.

Eiswein: picked at BA ripeness or above when frozen. Sweet, intense and with pinpoint acidity.


Two new generic labelling terms have been introduced: 'Classic' and 'Selection'. Linked to dry wines made from traditional grapes, 'selection' indicates that the wine comes from an individual vineyard in one specified region.

Germany's wine regions of note include Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Rheingau, Nahe and Pfalz. The steep, south-facing vineyards of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer overlook the River Mosel and its tributaries, the Saar and the Ruwer. Slate soil is important here. Mosel wines, traditionally sold in tall, green bottles, are pale in color, light in body, with racy acidity and elegance.

Rheingau wines are fuller in style, with the river Rhine being influential. The vineyards, such as the Rüdeshermer Berg, are also angled steeply. Halfway in style between a Mosel and a Rhein. Nahe wines are fresh, clean and sometimes 'minerally'.

Wines from the Pfalz region are growing in popularity. Pfalz has the warmest climate of Germany's wine-growing regions and is home to some of Germany's most innovative winemakers and some exciting wines. Certain wines, such as those from the Lingenfleder estate, excel. However, Pfalz is also home to a great deal of Liebfraumilch production.

"Top-quality estate wines from Germany once fetched higher prices than first-growth Bordeaux!"

Understanding the Label - Germany Wines

- Trocken - dry

- Halbtroken - semi-dry. In Germany, the grower and grape variety is worth nothing.

- Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter e. V (VDP) - group of estates whose members have agreed to a set of regulations.

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